Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Downtime has come

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Somewhere between cheese-fodder for Blues Brothers jokes and so damn hip as to be the of the moment, ’70s lounge-funk disappeared into deepest, darkest England. Into Hull, to be precise, which is sort of like disappearing into Detroit’s immediate Downriver. Or Gary, Ind. Or Akron. But the rare groove stalwarts who make up Baby Mammoth, revolutionaries of a down-tempo sound that is either the filter or the finance capital of lounge’s resurgence, have done more than their share of keeping this sound fresh to new ears.

The textures of this “best of” release are a groove-heavy primer in the history of heady (not airy) chill-out music. With tracks selected and mixed by Pork Recordings’ label founder, this CD is a funk-worm, a subversive piece of propaganda for music you’ll want to sway to endlessly without embarrassment.

And this CD revels in five years of consistent output, as if mammoths have the memories (and stubbornness) of elephants. Five years after some of these tracks were first produced, the sound is finally current. Perhaps even more impressive, after six albums, none of the parts are out of step. Unlike the inconsistency often marking commercial success, Baby Mammoth has been doing its unique thing, living in the certainty that, sooner or later, the rest of us would wake up.

The smoky stylishness of the vocals on “I’m Not Joking” channel ghosts of Billie Holiday, hovering between toughness and desire. And although this is the closest thing to a traditional song that you’ll find on this mammoth CD, the lush, opaque aesthetic follows throughout. The opening horn lines of “Tasty Maloney” draw their inordinate power to impress from our inability to locate them wholly in Holiday’s dark nostalgia or in Herb Albert’s brass clarity.

Get an education in what downtime can mean — find this disc.

E-mail Marc Christensen at [email protected].


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Marc Christensen

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation